Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Kirk Cousins (QB – Washington)
Quarterback is a deep position and you’re likely not considering a weird alternative this week unless you’ve been streaming quarterbacks all year or you have Andrew Luck. I’m going back to the well with Cousins after last week. He was very good at moving the Redskins up and down the field even if he threw two interceptions. You saw how good the Cowboys’ defense made Matt Flynn look last week and we know Flynn’s not that good. Look for Cousins to have similar success in Week 16.
Jordan Todman (RB – Jacksonville)
So far you think you’re reading last week’s column, but late-season trends are definitely a thing. Maurice Jones-Drew hasn’t practiced yet this week and old guys don’t recover as quickly from soft tissue injuries like hamstrings. Todman was beasting last week in the starting roll, piling up 153 total yards. Tennessee allows the third-most points to fantasy running backs, so Todman will be eating it up again.
Dennis Johnson (RB – Houston)
We’re down to the third-stringer in Houston, but there’s a few things to like about Johnson this weekend. For starters, it’s always best to give Peyton Manning the ball as little as possible. The Texans will likely try to bleed the clock in the same way San Diego did and that requires Johnson getting a lot of carries. If that fails and Denver takes a big lead then Johnson can be an asset in the passing game as the Texans try (emphasis on try) to catch up. Week 16 is where mediocre running backs become stars!
Reuben Randle (WR – N.Y. Giants)
The Giants’ offense obviously hasn’t been running on all cylinders and the injury to Victor Cruz probably won’t help things, but it also gives an opportunity for Randle to shine. Randle’s had some positive games this year, but now he’ll get a chance to shoulder a major load. Only two teams give up more points to fantasy wide receivers than the Detroit Lions.
Rod Streater (WR – Oakland)
Two spots below those Lions on the list of teams giving up points to WRs are the San Diego Chargers. That bodes well for all Oakland receivers, which has me focused on Streater this week. He’s been decent recently, putting up point totals between 5 and 14 points. He’s not a high-reward play, but he should be a solid addition if you need to avoid a zero in your lineup. (P.S. If you’re looking for a bigger boom and are willing to take the risk, Marvin Jones on the Bengals should be worth a look.)
Ryan Griffin (TE – Houston)
There are a few options on the wire this week for plug-in tight ends and they’re necessary with the general inconsistency at the position and the questionable health of Jordan Cameron. Griffin looks likely to start for Houston since Garrett Graham is nursing a hamstring injury and he should be just as effective as Graham would be. Houston could be throwing a lot in the second half and Matt Schaub, back at quarterback this week, loves hitting his tight ends in the red zone.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Andrew Luck (QB – Indianapolis)
Most of the better QBs in the league have good situations in championship week, but Luck is probably the best of the ones who doesn’t. Even in last week’s shootout, Kansas City limited Oakland’s quarterbacks to 8 points. While Luck is obviously better than McGloin, it just shows how the Chiefs’ create turnovers. The Colts’ insistence on the running game has made this an uneven season for Luck, which isn’t what you want to be relying on with the championship on the line.
Andre Brown (RB – N.Y. Giants)
Other than the snow bowl against Philadelphia, Detroit has limited running backs to 77 yards or under since Week 6. They’ve also not allowed any rushing touchdowns during that time. Part of this is because their secondary is so poor that teams attack that instead, which means the Giants will be looking to the air more this week.
Steven Jackson (RB – Atlanta)
You have to give Jackson some credit for being relevant towards the end of the season after his disastrous start to the year. It took him a while to get going and he’s not exactly running like the Jackson of old, but 13 or more points in 3 out of his last 4 games is pretty good. The buck stops here though. The 49ers not only limit running back production, but they’re likely to get ahead early and force Jacquizz Rodgers into the game as the Falcons play more hurry-up offense to get back in the game.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR – Arizona)
Putting Fitz in this spot has nothing to do with his concussion last week although that certainly doesn’t help. It has everything to do with Richard Sherman and the fact that Fitzgerald put up only two catches for 17 yards in the first contest between these two teams. He wasn’t much better last year against Seattle either. Part of that was quarterback play, but Sherman’s physical coverage doesn’t help Larry get thinigs done.
James Jones (WR – Green Bay)
Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out for another week, which means Green Bay won’t be throwing down the field again this week. That hurts Jones’ value as one of the Packers’ deep threats and he’s generally so touchdown dependent with scoring points anyway. There are less risky options to pursue with the championship on the line.
Martellus Bennett (TE – Chicago)
The Black Unicorn has put up some productive games so far this season, but the Eagles should limit that this week. Philadelphia has given up five points or less to fantasy tight ends in six of their last eight games. The only games in which that barrier was surpassed was when the TE scored a touchdown. Bennett only has two touchdowns since Week 3.
[Photo via Daniel Shirey/USA Today Sports]